Delegations Advocate for Jewish Day Schools at the PA Capitol

Harrisburg, PA – On June 3, 250 community members, leaders, and Jewish students from across Pennsylvania joined Teach PA’s Mission to Harrisburg to advocate for Jewish day schools and communities. Participants met with over 60 lawmakers in the capitol, expressing appreciation for their past support and advocating for critical programs, including funding to implement enhanced security measures that will meet severely growing needs. 

This mission is the largest Jewish gathering at the Pennsylvania statehouse and is held annually, attracting delegations from communities across the commonwealth. The advocacy day was particularly empowering for middle and high school students, many of whom benefit from the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (OSTC) scholarships, which help nearly 60% of Jewish day school students in Pennsylvania.  

“This mission is a testament to our communities’ dedication to ensuring the safety and educational quality of our schools,” says Shlomo Troodler, president of Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia and Teach PA leader. “Our presence sends a powerful message about the importance of supporting nonpublic schools in Pennsylvania. It is vital that we continue working closely with our legislators to secure the necessary resources that our schools, community centers, and shuls need to feel safe.” 

Teach PA’s mission to Harrisburg highlighted the importance of showing gratitude and commitment to civic advocacy to ensure the security and wellbeing of students who attend Jewish day schools and yeshivas. During the event, Teach PA presented a certificate of appreciation to Senator Mike Regan, who has been a staunch supporter of Jewish day school security and is now retiring. Representative Mary Jo Daley addressed the group and commended students for their activism, Senator Ryan Aument shared his commitment to STEM education for all students, and Senator Amanda Cappelletti welcomed the group in remarks on the Senate floor. 

“We came here to advocate for the continuation and enhancement of vital programs that support our schools and families,” says Arielle Frankston-Morris, executive director of Teach PA. “It was important for us to address these critical needs—combating rising antisemitism, maintaining current offerings such as the EITC/OSTC scholarships, and looking to the future by implementing innovative initiatives in our schools like broader STEM education.”  

With Pennsylvania’s budget deadline approaching on June 30 and budget negotiations beginning, it was a prime moment for advocates to be present to voice their concerns and priorities.  

As Frankston-Morris concludes, “We deeply appreciate everyone who has come to the seat of government to show their concern and express appreciation to the lawmakers who help keep our schools safe. We have seen significant growth resulting from past missions and are excited to see what this mission will achieve. Moving forward, we remain as committed as ever to advocating for the needs Jewish day schools and communities in Pennsylvania.”